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Tag: identity

How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Fandom is big business in the mainstream – but furries have their own place apart. Why does this fandom grow independently? Let’s look at unique expression at the heart of it. Of course furries do a lot more things than this story can look at, but one aspect brings insight about decentralized structure.

Some subcultures rise and fall with media they consume. But the influences seen in Part 1 didn’t make one property in common for every furry. They didn’t rise with a movie like Zootopia. Instead, this fandom is fans of each other.

Part 1 looked at the roots and growth of their conventions. Furry cons make a platform for the specialized craft of fursuiting, with bespoke, full-body mascot costumes that cost thousands. They’re uniquely original expressions of identity. They’re tangible, huggable products of imagination. They put the fur in furry.

A lot of the fandom’s rock stars are fursuiters, who give it a photogenic face. Unlike stars of other fandoms, their original characters usually aren’t promoting something else — and fursuits can’t be downloaded or easily pirated — they’re for live experiences. It matters because online community can be temporary, but live events glue it together. They can show why this fandom is independent, here to stay, and not tied to certain media.

Rather than naming great works tied to their activity, you could say that the group is its own greatest creation. And if writing, art, or other creativity in the fandom didn’t rise out of a certain type of event, fursuiting did.

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“We Want Politics Out of Furry Fandom” is a political statement, and here’s a good response.

by Patch O'Furr

“We Want Politics Out” is politics.

It’s a popular complaint. This fan group is supposed to be for interest in anthropomorphic animal media and nothing more. That boils down to lowest-common-denominator consumerism. It’s like everyone is a bottom-feeding plecostamus in their own fish tank, and what they consume is just random scum growing on the bottom. Who cares where it comes from? Just be a dumb fish.

An unpopular fursona.

The problem is, reductionism doesn’t tell the whole story. There’s a community attached to the way members consume things. And the complaint often comes with attacking care about how things work there. (Stop asking questions about the delicious scum!)

Everyone who’s here in good faith has some kind of care beyond themselves. It can range from management of websites or cons, to health and safety, or being a loose support network. You see it whenever a member gets help with money or a place to live, or even with complaints about FA’s management. When it’s time to talk about bigger stuff, complaining against politics is half-baked activism for the status quo. Here’s why.

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